A schools board in northern Switzerland says two Muslim boys who refused to shake hands with their female teachers for religious reasons can be required to do so, and their parents could face fines of up to 5,000 Swiss francs (about $5,000) if they don't.

A public school in the northeastern Therwil municipality had exempted the boys from shaking hands with teachers after accepting their belief that they should only willingly touch the women they will eventually marry.

The Basel-Landschaft school board said Wednesday that the teachers can require students to shake hands.

The boys' refusal set off a debate in Switzerland, which has a tradition of handshake greetings.